ROCKFORD — Law enforcement officials in Mercer County are searching for a 40-year-old man who is wanted in connection with the death of a Rockford woman Thursday morning.
Mercer County Dispatchers received a phone call at approximately 10:43 a.m. Thursday reporting a shooting at 509 North Street in Rockford. Rockford Police Chief Paul May entered the residence and found Melinda S. Shinn, 26, dead.
May then asked Grey’s office to assist in the investigation. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation was called in to help process the crime scene. Shortly after, an arrest warrant was issued for Daniel C. Martin, 40, for murder. Martin has not been located as of press time. However, Martin’s Ford Explorer was recovered in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Earlier in the day, Grey declined to reveal if the shooting was the result of a domestic situation involving Shinn and Martin. May told The Evening Leader the two were dating and were not married.
“We are in the very initial stages,” Grey said. “Her body was inside the residence and it’s still there.”
Earlier in the day, Grey said Shinn and Martin had “been together for a while.” May said he was unaware if there were any witnesses to the actual shooting.
“Right now, we’ve got some speculation that has occurred,” Grey said. “But until we actually get in the house — we’ve secured a search warrant to go into the house — and see for sure what we have, I don’t want to speculate what happened.”
May said there has never been a murder in Rockford, a village of 1,120 residents. The death is the third homicide in Mercer County in less than 12 months. Robert Grube and his daughter Colleen Grube were murdered in a rural Fort Recovery residence on Nov. 30, 2011. That case remains unsolved at this time.
During a news conference this morning, more details emerged in the shooting. Shinn and Martin were reportedly arguing Wednesday night and into Thursday morning. Grey said that was verified via text messages sent from Shinn to people outside the home. Grey said it is believed Shinn was shot early Thursday morning inside the residence.
Grey said Shinn’s 9-year-old son was present at the time of the shooting. Investigators declined to say if the boy — who is not Martin’s son — witnessed the actual shooting, but said the boy is safe and with relatives.
While Martin’s vehicle was found in Fort Wayne, Grey declined to indicate if investigators believed he was in the city.
“We don’t know for sure right now,” Grey said this morning. “We are trying to track him down right now.”
Grey also declined to comment on who investigators have spoken with regarding Martin’s whereabouts. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office at 419-586-7724.